Dec 8, 2014

Finding Quality in the High-Tech Era

Old-Fashioned Quality
I have always liked gizmos and gadgets, it seems a lot of males do for some reason. The world of electronics has come a long way over the decades with all sorts of bells and whistles – and a growing price tag. One could live with that if the quality remained the same as, say, thirty years ago. But overall it has not.
My mother had a toaster that lasted for twenty years and a coffee maker (early Mr. Coffee) that lasted almost ten years.
Today I threw out my coffeemaker that lasted a little over two years before the electronics went haywire. I am replacing it with an old fashioned peculator, since the toaster hardly two years old was shorting out. What good is the UL Approved symbol when manufacturers don't make quality products? It may have been one that slipped by the inspector, but I think it just was not made to last.
Automobiles are another item where prices have skyrocketed over the decades, paying for all those bells and whistles and government required stuff. Problem is the sheet metal (where metal exists and not plastic-rubber configuration) is so thin you can put a dent in them by leaning on it. My first car was a 1956 Dodge, old and with a lot of miles and a rare flat-head six cylinder engine. It was heavy, but you could hit a tree with the monster bumper and barely dented it. You could also be a do-it-yourself mechanic, which today is pretty much not the case. All those bells and whistles, electronic nightmare of devices and wires require expensive diagnostic equipment that the do-it-yourself person cannot afford. So it is off to the local mechanic or worse the dealership where you bought it. If it is not a warranty problem, that is a lot of cash coming out of your rainy day fund or boosting your credit card balance.
As time goes on, people live with the idea of paying more for products; but what is unacceptable is that the quality and durability goes down with the price increase. Part of the problem is that products are either made or constructed somewhere else – a country who pays its workers less.
The advent has been, purchase more things made in the United States; but it does not mean it is a quality product made with pride. Too many workers are more concerned with punching out and pay day than being prideful of what they make.
It also applies that not all poor quality products are made overseas. I have had knives in my collection made in India and Germany that are superb in quality. Germans, for the most part, have not lost their pride in workmanship. Blades, knives, knives and razors of quality can also be found made in the United Kingdom, specifically England. Some of the world's best shotguns are made there by manufacturers in business for centuries, like Beretta in Italy.
Australia produces great saddlery. Sweden makes one of the best cars in the world. The world renowned firearm manufacturer, Sig Sauer originated as a Swiss Wagon Factory in 1853 and in the 1970s began working on a handgun design that was quality at a reasonable price. Since Swiss companies that manufacture firearms avoid Swiss law limits by partnering with a foreign company, which they did with Sauer & Sohn in Germany. The trade name “SIG” comes from the original name of Schweizerische Industriegesellschaft.
In 1975, the SIGP220 came into being and became a popular handgun. Before World War II, Sauer only made shotguns and hunting rifles. SIG also produces the MG710, chambered in 7.62mm NATO and designed from the German MG42.
As far firearms, however, the United States has its showcase of manufacturers with good reputations: Browning Arms Company, Colt Manufacturing Company, Remington Arms, Weatherby, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Henry Rifle Company, and Smith & Wesson.
Armscor is another quality manufacturer, based in the Philippines. Beretta in Italy is the oldest, established in 1526.
Glock is a newcomer that is popular for its polymer-framed pistols widely used by law enforcement agencies, and like Beretta, also produces accessories and apparel.
I should be admonished if I forgot to mention Heckler & Koch headquartered in Oberndorf, Germany. Back in the 1970s, I fired their 9mm submachine gun with a silencer and also their 7.62mm assault rifle (G3), impressed with the quality of the action assembly.
Here is a list of those companies with firearms that made them famous:
Glock Ges.m.b.H.: Glock 17, Glock 19, Glock 17C, Glock30.
Beretta: Model 92FS pistol, Model 92A1 pistol, Model 96A1 pistol, ARX100 and ARX160 assault rifles.
Sturm, Ruger & Company: MK II pistol, MK III pistol, Ruger Hawkeye Standard, Ruger 10/22 Semi-Automatic Rifle.
Weatherby: Vanguard Series 2 Sporting Rifle and other quality rifles and shotguns.
Remington Arms: Remington Semi-Automatic Sniper System Rifle and several semi-automatic shotguns models.
Izhmash (Russia): KalashnikovAK-47. Note: There are many cheaply made duplicates produced by other manufacturers in various countries.
Colt Manufacturing Company: AR-15, M16, Cold Defender, Colt Single Action Army Revolver, Colt New Frontier, and various colt carbines.

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